Editor’s Note: RCR Wireless News goes all in for “Throwback Thursdays,” tapping into our archives to resuscitate the top headlines from the past. Fire up the time machine, put on the sepia-tinted shades, set the date for #TBT and enjoy the memories!

FirstNet opt-in deadline set
After a brief delay, the deadline for governors to decide whether to opt in or opt out of the First Responders Network Authority Radio Access Network build-out by AT&T has been set. Decisions must be made by Thursday, Dec. 28 — making the week between Christmas and the new year potentially a busy one for FirstNet decisions, and setting up 2018 as a big year for the public-private partnership in terms of network build-out. Any state or U.S. territory that doesn’t make its decision by the FirstNet opt-out deadline of Dec. 28 will be automatically opted in to the AT&T build-out, according to the agency. AT&T had already updated its previously-released state plans, but the 90-day clock couldn’t start ticking until the National Telecommunications and Information Administration released information on funding levels for the State Alternative Plan Program, which sets up spectrum leasing authority and funding for states which choose to opt out of the AT&T RAN build-out and have their plans to do so approved by the Federal Communications Commission. … Read more

Project Loon balloons deployed for Puerto Rico, post-Maria
Project Loon, the ambitious project launched by Google parent Alphabet to use balloons to deliver internet service, will get a real-life test in Puerto Rico. The Federal Communications Commission has given Alphabet the green light to use the balloons to try to increase cellular coverage in the U.S. territory, where more than 80% of cell sites went out of service in the aftermath of Hurricanes Maria and Irma. The experimental license issued to Project Loon also covers the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to Alphabet, each balloon can provide LTE connectivity to a ground area about 80 kilometers in diameter. Loon will use the 900 MHz band, and will need to connect to ground-based infrastructure. The company is expected to install some of its own infrastructure on the ground, but will probably rely on some existing cell sites as well. The mobile network operators that serve Puerto Rico include AT&T, T-Mobile, Claro and Telefónica. These companies are all expected to cooperate with Alphabet, and Alphabet has already said it is working with Telefónica. … Read more

ExteNet gears up for CBRS
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has yet to finalize Part 96 rules governing shared access to spectrum in the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) frequencies, 3550 MHz to 3700 MHz. But this holding pattern hasn’t deterred a range of service providers and infrastructure vendors from developing Part 96-ready commercial deployments and RF equipment, respectively. While a range of deployment scenarios are being considered, ExteNet Systems sees fixed wireless access, particularly in support of rural broadband services, as a key use case. In the latest, ExteNet is working with Paladin Wireless, a WISP that serves customers in Northeast Georgia near the borders with South Carolina and North Carolina. The planned LTE fixed wireless access system will leverage small cells and a distributed evolved packet core to provide rural coverage. ExteNet leaders, as well as local Georgia state Congressman Doug Collins, discussed the planned deployment in terms of extending high-quality broadband services to underserved communities. … Read more

Ericsson opens 5G design center in Texas
Ericsson announced the opening of a design center in Austin, Texas, to focus on microelectronics and accelerating the path to 5G commercialization. The new Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) design center is open now and recruitment is ongoing. Ericsson highlighted that microelectronics are at the core of all Ericsson radio systems and can be seen as processors that are specially made for the computation needs of mobile infrastructure. “We are strengthening our radio design capability in one of the world’s 5G pioneer markets. We’ll be up and running with our first group of designers in Austin by the end of 2017. Along with our ASIC design teams in Sweden and China, we’ll be making faster, better and greener 5G products to bring into the Ericsson portfolio by 2019,” said Sinisa Krajnovic, head of development unit networks at Ericsson. The new facility will be located near other Austin telecom and tech campuses–the city is nicknamed the Silicon Hills in an homage to its Bay Area cousin. … Read more

Sprint touts Magic Box
This week Sprint won the Mobile Breakthrough Award for the all-wireless Magic Box small cell, developed by vendor Airspan Netowrks. Sprint is using the device to bolster indoor coverage and capacity. In an August earnings call, CEO Marcelo Claure told RCR Wireless News the product was “truly magical,” but demand exceeds supply–-a problem that persists. The self-configuring, plug-and-play small cell uses an LTE UE relay, and is being deployed in consumer and enterprise use cases. Sprint says the Magic Box increases download and upload speeds by an average of 200%. Awards Managing Director James Johnson says the Magic Box’s value proposition “is in its simplicity of use.” Sprint COO Günther Ottendorfer adds that Magic Box is a “key part of our densification and optimization toolbox for bringing LTE Plus service to homes and businesses across the country. The feedback has been tremendous, and we’re excited to see Sprint Magic Box making a difference for thousands of our customers.” … Read more

Keysight headquarters damaged in California wildfires
The corporate headquarters of test company Keysight Technologies is shut down and suffered minor damage in the wildfires that have wiped out parts of Santa Rosa, California. Although a local news report claimed that the campus had been destroyed, the most recent update from the company said that as of Monday afternoon, “all four main buildings are intact, although there appears to be some minor damage. Two modular structures and several automobiles suffered more extensive damage.” RCR Wireless News confirmed with a company spokesperson that the facility remains closed as of Wednesday, and that there is no new information publicly available as of Wednesday morning. Photos published by The San Francisco Chronicle, including the one above, show flames on the property. A number of nearby buildings, including Sweet T’s restaurant close to the Keysight campus, have been reported destroyed. … Read more

T-Mo prioritizes 600 MHz repack in NYC
T-Mobile US continues its effort to aggressively deploy its 600 MHz holdings. Following activation of rural sites in Maine and Wyoming, the carrier is now focusing its efforts on the high-value, high-density New York City metropolitan area. T-Mobile spent around $8 billion in the U.S. Federal Communications Commission auction of 600 MHz spectrum previously dedicated to television broadcasters. In an Aug. 4 “ex parte notice” to the FCC, T-Mobile said it wants to “rapidly deploy” its new spectrum. A key part of the immediate plans for the 600 MHz band is bringing “new competition and choice to rural areas previous unserved by T-Mobile,” according to the document, which summarizes an Aug. 2 conversation between T-Mobile execs and FCC representatives. The first deployment came in early August. T-Mobile worked used Nokia equipment to light up sites in Cheyenne, Wy., according to the carrier. Later that month the build-out expanded to Scarborough, Maine. In terms of device compatibility, the operator said it will begin selling the LG V30 device, which supports the 600 MHz band. … Read more

Check out the RCR Wireless News Archives for more stories from the past.

The post #TBT: Project Loon connects Puerto Rico; Sprint’s Magic Box is hot; FirstNet sets state opt-in deadline … this week in 2017 appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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